László Domokos
President of the State Audit Office of Hungary

Between 9 and 11 September 2020, with the cooperative support of the EUROSAI-OLACEFS General Secretariat and Governing Board, State Audit Office of Hungary hosted more than 200 SAI representatives from 56 countries in the framework of the IX. EUROSAI-OLACEFS Joint Conference. After a long time, the three-day event broke the professional silence caused by the coronavirus pandemic and provided an opportunity for the Supreme Audit Institutions of Europe and South America to have their voices heard, conducting value-creating professional debates and exchange of good practices on boosting their impact.

In response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s conference was held in an online format to ensure the highest possible level of safety for the SAIs of the two continents enabling them to share their mutual experience and good practices in a wider range.

The Conference kicked off with an official opening ceremony where participants could hear inspiring speeches from the President of EUROSAI, Seyit Ahmet Baş, President of OLACEFS, Nelson Eduardo Shack Yalta and the President of the State Audit Office of Hungary, László Domokos. The Presidents’ welcome speeches were followed by a series of exciting presentations.

The first round of panel discussions focused on “Enhancing Measurement Methodologies. Participants were discovering the scope of opportunities available to measure good governance and the range of possible constraints and challenges one needs to face with when dealing with this question.

The second round of panel discussions similarly addressed substantive issues such as the role of prosecutors, criminal prosecution and anti-corruption methods, entitled “Prosecution – Criminal Prosecution, Anti-Corruption – Possible Defense Methods and Approaches.”

The third round of panel discussions centered around „The role of Supreme Audit Institutions in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, while the last round of panel discussions on the second day of the Conference focused on “Digitalisation of Media and Technology in the Work of the Courts of Auditors”.

On the final day of the joint conference – during the plenary – the results of panel discussions and workshops were synthetized in forms of e-posters, of which help the conference moderator summarized the key conclusions.

Today’s virtual meetings have replaced almost all international conferences with physical presence, overshadowing their personal atmosphere. State Audit Office of Hungary with the helping hand of EUROSAI-OLACEFS, set themselves the objective with their programs to make the members of the international community of SAIs gaining strength both professionally and humanly during the three day time spent together after the difficult pandemic period.

The transition to work at home and the establishment of the digital control environment as a result of the pandemic took place from one week to the other. During this time, we quickly and extensively gained experience, managed risks and, of course, where we could, took advantage of the new opportunities. Therefore, I think the exchange of knowledge and the idea of sharing good practices gained even more emphasis.

I am convinced that performance measurement models provide directions while indicators reflect results, successes and areas for improvement. Therefore, each institution must pay special attention to measuring its own performance ensuring that the real value of work can be increased while efficiency is strengthened and maintained. Thereby, the drive for improvement, regularity and performance are essentials to the better use of public money, promoted by SAI recommendations.

Although the IX. EUROSAI-OLACEFS Joint Conference is concluded, the joint work and the newly formed cooperation between continents are only beginning. During the conference, we learned that geographical distance should not stand in the way of SAIs cooperation. EUROSAI-OLACEFS General Secretariat and Governing Board deserve special praise for their active contribution to the success of the online conference.

I strongly believe that international community of SAIs proved again that our mutual cooperation stands on a solid ground even in difficult times.

About the author

László Domokos graduated as a certified economist being member of parliament between 1998-2010. Since 2010 he is the President of the State Audit Office of Hungary, also holds the presidential position of the Drafting Committee of the Public Finance Quarterly and the Association of Hungarian Financial and Economic Auditors. Becoming member of the Fiscal Council and author of the book entitled „About the sustainable good governance” in 2017 he received his doctorate dealing with the professional topic of supporting good governance through the renewal of SAI activities. President Domokos is the honorary doctor of Miskolc University and Nanjing Audit University.